Q. My dog has been diagnosed with a slipped disc. This has improved with rest but could it happen again?
A. Disc protrusions leading to pressure and damage to the nerves of the spinal cord are relatively common, particularly amongst those breeds with relatively long backs eg. Dachshunds.
Around 1 in 3 dogs will have a further flare up at some point. Most dogs only show back pain or an unwillingness to jump or turn, but in severe cases a slipped disc can lead to paralysis in the back legs, and loss of bladder and bowel control - these cases carry a very poor outlook, particularly if they have no pain sensation in the hind paws.
Most of the mildly affected dogs will respond to strict rest, and some pain relief may make the dog more comfortable, but should be used carefully, as doing too much too soon can worsen the back problem. Those cases that show persistent back pain, or are more severely affected, can benefit from spinal surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerves.
This is a specialist procedure offered by a number of referral centres around the country.